Abacha v Fawehinmi, (2000) 6 NWLR (Pt. 660) 228
The respondent was arrested in furtherance of a detention order signed by the inspector General of Police. The respondent sued for violation of rights in the Constitution and the African charter on Human and Peoples Right. The appellants objected claiming that the court’s jurisdiction has been ousted and the chapter IV of the constitution suspended.
The African Charter on Human and People’s Right applies since it had been enacted as part of the Nigerian domestic law in accordance with s. 12(1) of the 1999 constitution and was at no time repealed or suspended. The ouster clause is inoperative since this particular action does not fall within its purview (there is no question as to the validity of a Decree or Edict). The Court of Appeal held that the state has a responsibility to ensure that a person in custody is not put under undue danger of his health and safety. Accordingly, where facts show that the good health of a person in custody of the state depends on his taking special drugs which are not being made available to him, and he wants to have access to them at his own cost, then he is entitled to such drugs through members of his family and personal physicians
Comment – There are two theories in relation to international law, the first is that a treaty is binding when an ambassador or representative of the country signs it. The second theory is that a treaty is not binding except if domesticated by the respective legislature.
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